How to reconstruct an equitable future for the D.C. region
We are in a trifecta of crises that threatens our nation’s public health, economic security and democracy. Though this pandemic is new, racism and economic injustice are not. The pandemic has served to further reveal preexisting inequities in housing, education, health care, food security, policing and criminal justice, income and employment.
This trifecta of crises has awakened a lethargic nation. Today, more Americans than ever before understand the depths of societal inequities and systems failures. This expanded awareness should be leveraged to reconstruct a more just society rather than merely “recovering” a flawed one.
A recent study from the Greater Washington Community Foundation found that African American residents of the Washington region are more than twice as likely to say that economic conditions are getting worse, they are finding it very difficult to manage financially and are very worried about paying their rent or mortgage. More than half said they could survive for only about a month or less if they lost all current sources of income. Black residents were also 10 times more likely than white residents to feel discriminated against when police interactions occurred.
This paints a grim picture of a status quo to which we cannot return. This moment in time is an opportunity to reshape how and where resources flow in our communities so we can build more equitable systems leading to a more resilient region as a result.
Despite the challenges that inevitably accompany change, we all have a part to play in imagining a new normal for this region that is intentional and uncompromised. We see this as part of a broader community approach that features three fluid phases.
Source: The Washington Post, submitted by MPN member Tonia Wellons, president and CEO of Greater Washington Community Foundation, and Ursula Wright, managing director for FSG.